Our long-standing ministry in the capital of Amman is garnering national attention there, serving over 50,000 refugees. We have two church buildings in Amman along with 50 house meetings weekly. In a second neighborhood, a newly ordained bi-vocational pastor has a growing ministry that began in his home. He now ministers to thousands of refugees, including a youth sports ministry that has gained national attention and is promoted by the Jordanian government.
IME’s newest work in the Middle East targets Israel’s 1.6 million Arab population and benefits from excellent leadership. We now work with five ordained pastors, including the first woman ordained by any group we know. The number of house fellowships meeting weekly has more than doubled (from 12 to 29) in the past year. Three house church planters have been recently deployed to Bethlehem, our latest focus city.
With restricted access to North Africa, IME’s strategy is to work with a partner organization, utilizing workers from neighboring countries in the region for whom access is not a major obstacle. Political, linguistic and ethnic barriers are less challenging for people from similar cultural backgrounds. IME has joined in establishing house churches in two limited-access countries in North Africa, while continuing to monitor opportunities for future work there.
Our work in Iraq is constantly changing due to the unsettled political situation. Outreach is concentrated in the northern province of Kurdistan, only 40 miles from the ISIS-controlled city of Mosul. Our partner church in the capital of Erbil has programs for men, women, and children in English, computer work, music, and Bible study. House churches have been established in 13 villages among refugees fleeing ISIS, utilizing makeshift facilities ranging from tents to brick houses.
IME has over 1,000 house churches in three extensive church planting networks in Egypt, stretching from a world-class city like Cairo to thousands of remote villages and Bedouin tribes. Two newly ordained pastors lead a network of over 400 house churches, including an expanding network of house churches in the nation’s prisons. Another promising development is the group of 20 young professionals, some of whom are leading as many as five house fellowships.